Sunday, 27 January 2013

Blogging about Blogging...

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So I'm quite new to this crazy world of blogging, and I thought it would be fun to share with you some things I have learnt, and also some things I'm still working on... Really, I think I just wanted to do a bit of a casual/let's have a chat post, I feel that it's the online equivalent to a sit down over a cup of tea!
I always knew the blogging world existed. When I was interested in a beauty product I would hop on Google and see what other people thought and what it looked like on them or see what other people thought of a book I was interested in reading, but now that I am a part of this world I realise there is so much more to it.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My tips for getting (and staying) Fit and Healthy!

If you read my Hello 2013 post you would know that staying fit and healthy is one of my 2013 goals and, almost a month in, I feel good about how this one is going. I want to make it very clear that I am no expert in this area and am definitely no professional. I have, however, made strides with my fitness in the last few months and am feeling better than I have in a long time. So I thought I would share five things that I am doing in the hope that they may help you if you are on a health and fitness journey like me!

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1. Surround yourself with fit and healthy people- This is one that I feel like just happened to me, at work I sit next to a guy who is Cross Fit crazy and work with another girl who has decided we should all go to work early on Friday mornings and work out together. I have found having these people around me has really helped keep me on track. I have also discovered that very fit people are not "scary" as I once thought and more often than not are happy to discuss work out plans or tips with those of us who are less fit, I feel lucky that I have people supporting me and checking in on me as I work towards my fitness goals.

Monday, 21 January 2013

My New Zealand Adventures: Christchurch

Christchurch was the last stop on my New Zealand Adventure, I am actually a little sad that my travel blogging will come to an end, it has been such a good way to record and remember my trip, I hope that you have enjoyed reading about it as much as I have enjoyed writing about it!

I am so glad we got the opportunity to spend some time in Christchurch. It has now been almost two years since the earthquake and I am so impressed with how they are re-building. There is still so much to do and everywhere you look there are construction sites, but the people there are amazing, and everyone we spoke to had such a positive attitude towards the future of Christchurch, it was an incredibly uplifting experience.

I didn't actually take a lot of photos in Christchurch, I feel that the city is still very much a work in progress at the moment and it kind of felt a little disrespectful, I definitely didn't think the photos would showcase the amazing city that it is, but I have no doubt that I will be back in Christchurch again and will hopefully be taking many photos of the inspirational new city that it is becoming. I also think that they are doing a great job of trying to conserve as much of the old Christchurch as they can. Along with new buildings, there was a lot of restoration happening to beautiful older buildings, and the new city is going to be such an interesting mix of Christchurch's history and the new beginning that they have all worked so hard to achieve.

Along with the construction sites there are many signs around the city outlining the future plans, there has been a lot of research and surveys done in order to determine what people are looking for in their city and the new design looks incredible. Read more about it here.

We did spend a little time in the Botanical Gardens which, although parts are still under construction, seems to be well on the way to recovery from the damage. It was here that I discovered a love for Dahlias, they are beautiful and bright and happy! What's not to love?


Thursday, 17 January 2013

My New Zealand Adventures: Wanaka, Lake Tekapo, Mt. Cook and Lake Pukaki

Welcome to Part Two of my New Zealand Adventures!

We hired a car the last day we were in Queenstown and headed slowly North towards Christchurch stopping at a few places on the way. During this part of the trip I was so amazed by the scenery, I literally felt like I was in a postcard at times. Some of the places were just breathtaking. By the end I actually stopped taking photos because I just felt like they weren't doing these places justice and I wanted a little break from viewing through a lense, but hopefully this gives you a little idea of what we saw.

The drive itself was really nice, at every turn there was more beautiful scenery and if you're visiting from Australia, you don't even need to worry about changing what side of the road you drive on. Quite convenient really!

Our first stop along the way was Wanaka, it is a pretty town, smaller than Queenstown, it very much seemed like the family friendly place to visit. We strolled along the lake, there were lots of people doing water sports, we saw boats, jet skis, even paddle boards. We only stayed in Wanaka for a break and to check out some shops, we did end up at the Black Peak ice creamery, oh my! If you are ever in Wanaka, this is a must do, the Malteaser ice cream was amazing, so amazing I forgot to take a photo for you, sorry, you'll have to take my word on it's deliciousness. I did get one of the lake though...


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Product Review and Swatches: Revlon Colorstay Eyeshadow quad in Precocious

My first product review and swatching experience, how fun!

I had heard a lot of good things about Revlon's Colorstay Eyeshadow quads so I thought I would give one a go and share my thoughts with you! I was drawn to this shade as I have green eyes and find I like the look of plummy purple colours on them, I also liked that it just has two neutral shades which I thought would be quite versatile.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

My New Zealand Adventures: Queenstown

So I started writing my travel post about my recent holiday and very quickly realised that it was going to be outrageously long, so I've decided it will be best for everyone if I break it up into a little mini series. So here is part one of my New Zealand adventures!

Our first stop, and where we stayed the longest was Queenstown. It has to be one of the friendliest, easiest, most beautiful travel destinations I have ever been to.

After a short three hour flight and a 30 minute shuttle we arrived at our apartment overlooking Lake Wakatipu, to say the view was beautiful is an understatement. This was what I woke up to every morning for a week, and I have to say, it is definitely something I could get used to.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

What I'm reading: Divergent by Veronica Roth


Now that work has finished for the year I have been able to get in a bit more reading which has been very nice. I heard about this book from one of my high school students and I try to keep up with what they're reading so I can talk to them about it!

Set in a Distopian world where people are divided into "factions" depending on a choice they made when they were teenagers, Divergent follows 16-year-old Tris as she goes through this process. The five factions are based around one main value each of the groups have which dictate thier actions and behaviours. These include bravery, knowledge, honesty, selflessness and peace. You are raised in one faction and at the age of 16 can decide whether or not this faction is for you, if you decide to change factions this decision will lead to leaving your family behind.

It kind of reminds me of The Hunger Games in that it is a very easy to read book clearly targeted at young adults, but still deals with some older themes including loyalty, dealing with consequences, making life changing decisions and being true to yourself.

I did enjoy this book and finished it in a few days but there were some parts that frustrated me. I found myself being frustrated with Tris, the main character, as things that I thought seemed obvious to the reader, she did not pick up on until significantly later. There is, however, some good characterisation in the novels and you do find yourself really hoping that good triumphs over evil in the end. There is also quite a nice little love story that develops.

This book is the first in a trilogy and while I won't be running out to find the other two, I think I will get around to reading them eventually. If you are after a light, holiday read, or if you are a high school teacher trying to keep up with what your students are reading, this just may be what you're looking for!

I'm always on the hunt for new books to read, if you are reading anything good at the moment I would love to hear about it.

Happy reading!

Zoe xx

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Home Sweet Home

Hey everyone,

I am back from my New Zealand adventures, I had such a wonderful time, it is such a beautiful country and I feel all refreshed and rejuvinated! I am planning on going through the many many photos I took and telling you guys all about it but for the moment I just had to share this one with you...

Lake Pukaki
I never thought I would say the words "This is my favourite lake" but Lake Pukaki on the South Island is possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. It is breathtaking. The colour of the water is amazing and the snow capped mountains in the background made me feel like I was in a picture. Unbelievable.
I hope that you have all had a wonderful break over the New Year and if you are already back at work I hope it is positive and productive.
Along with the many photos taken and wine consumed I managed to get in a bit of reading so watch this space for some news about my trip, some book reviews, and of course, I will fill you in on all of the shopping I did while over there. I think I really did the NZ ecomony some favours...
I hope you are all well! What did you get up to over the break?
Zoe xx

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

What's in my travel make up bag?

I love reading about what is in other people's make up bags, so I thought I would share with you what's in mine, I really love some of these products, so I hope it is helpful for you.

Let's start off with the all important face products...

SkinMedica Daily Physical Defense SPF 30+ sunscreen: To me, sunscreen is one of the most important things in my make up bag, I am quite fair and burn very easily so I wear it every day under my foundation. I like this one, it has quite a thick consistency but it absorbs quickly. It is important to look for a sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays, look for the words "Broad Spectrum" or "UVA/UVB" protection. I got this one from StrawberryNet, you can find it here.

Bourjois 123 Perfect foundation: I love this foundation, it is made of a mix of coloured pigments (green, purple and yellow) intended to correct discolouration. I think it is a great foundation for evening out skin tone. Just a little disclaimer- this foundation has no SPF. As I wear sunscreen everyday I prefer to use foundations without SPF as I find them more versatile. I don't wear anything with SPF on my face when I'm going out at night because flash photography can cause a white cast. If you are someone who doesn't wear sunscreen regularly, I would recommend looking for a foundation with an SPF.

Maybelline Fit Me concealer: This is a new addition to my make up bag and so far I am really liking it. The consistency makes it appropriate for covering blemishes as well as dark under eye cirlces, and I love travelling with versatile products like that! I like the wand applicator and the colour is perfect for my skin tone ( I am using the shade 15 fair).

Covergirl TruBlend pressed powder: My skin type is normal-combination (in the colder months I am prone to dryness and dehydration if I don't look after my skin), so I need a powder that won't highlight any dryness I may have. While I like this one, I am still on the hunt for the perfect pressed powder, if such a thing exists! I am always looking for any reccommendations so if you have any I would love to hear from you.

NARS blush/brozer duo in Laguna/Orgasm: These are two of my favourite products of all time, I had heard so much about these that I just bought the smaller blush/brozer duo to try them out and I understand their rave reviews. My skin tone is quite light and I find that if I lightly apply the bronzer it blends out really nicely and the blush is just gorgeous. When I get through this I will most definitely be repurchasing both products! For the moment, this little mini duo is perfect for travelling!

Now onto the eye products...


Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze: I love this cream eye shadow from Maybelline, you can wear it alone or under powder shadows, it is smooth, easy to work with and doesn't crease on me. Well done, Maybelline!

Wet n Wild Color Icon eyeshadow trio in Walking on Eggshells: I originally had about 4 eyeshadow trios/quads that I intended to bring with me but thought that would be a little extreme, and when I thought about it more I realised this is the eyeshadow trio I have been reaching for more than any others lately. I love that it is a neutral palette that can be worn during the day but the brown is dark enough that it can be easily turned into a night look, I particulary like the brown on my lower lash line. This over my Bad to the Bronze Color Tattoo is one of my favourite looks!

Bourjois Volume Glamour Max Definition mascara: I love this mascara but my sister hates it, I think mascara is one of those things that is very much up to the individual. This mascara has a thicker consistency and can tend to clump if you use too much, less is definitely more with this one. I really like the look it gives with just a few quick strokes but if you are a person who likes to work with a thinner consistency mascara or likes to layer different mascaras, this may not be for you. I think I'm going to do a more in depth review of this because I just love it.

Maybelline Master Precise liquid liner: Hands down, my favourite liquid eye liner, the pen application is easy to work with and, on me, it lasts the whole day/night. I usually just dot liquid eyeliner along my lash line to make it appear fuller but I have also used this as a more bold eyeliner and it works well either way. If you are a beginner looking to try liquid eyeliner (or even if you aren't), I would reccommend trying this one.

Savvy by DB eyebrow pencil: Let's not forget our brows ladies! I actually did forget an eyebrow pencil so I picked his one up while at the shops, and I quite like it. My eyebrow pencil advice is always go lighter than you think you should, I have this in Taupe, even though my brows are quite dark, I really only use it to fill in a few sparce areas and create some more definition at the ends.

I only brought 4 lip products with me (in addition to the 3 lip balms permanently in my handbag at any one time) because I felt these were the most versatile, and are currently some of my favourites...


Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses lip liner in Cherry Kiss: This is one of my favourite lip liners of all time, it is so well loved that I couldn't even read the label and had to Google what it was called... I love wearing this by itself or underneath lipstick. It is a colour that can be worn very lightly or built up to quite an intense colour. Definitely one of my faves.
Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in Vintage Pink (180): This is a great lipstick, I also think this Rimmel product is very versatile, it can be worn lightly by itself for a more natural colour or built up over the Cherry Kiss liner for a more bold lip. The only downside to this lipstick is the scent, to me it just smells like lipstick from the 80s, but it doesn't seem to last on the lips so I can overlook it!
Revlon ColorStay lip liner in Red: I decided I wanted to have the option of wearing a classic red lip while I'm away and this lip liner/lipstick combo is one of my favourites. I just don't think you can do a red lip without a liner and this one does not budge.
Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick in Cherries In The Snow: This is one of my favourite red lip colours, it is a cool toned, almost pink red and I think it works very well with my skin tone (NW15 for reference), it is one of those reds that brightens the face and whitens the teeth. Paired with my Revlon liner is a winning combo.

And now, last but not least, the tools...

Revlon lip brush: I really think you can't wear a bold lip without applying your lipstick with a lip brush, it helps get the lipstick into hard to reach areas and allows for a more precise application, a must in any travel bag!
Cosmetica by Manicare Rounded Blending brush: A pretty standard eye shadow blending brush, but I like this one, gets the job done! Anything similar to this would be fine.
Sephora Complexion Poudre 53 brush: I love this brush, I bought it last time I was overseas and have used it almost every day since. On an everyday basis I would usually only use this for blush but for travelling purposes I will use this for setting powder, blush and bronzer, a great all rounder brush.
Sephora brush wand: The quality of these brushes isn't great but I really like the versatility of this product, I don't use this on a regular basis but it is good for the purpose of travelling. I do quite like the angled liner brush but the rest are a little average.
Revlon eye shadow blending brush: Although this is called a blending brush, I find the tapered shape is good for applying colour to the lid, it picks up and distributes colour well.
Last but not least my make up bag is one that I got in a Bourjois gift with purchase, I usually discard these bags pretty quickly or give them away but this one is cute and the plastic cover that you can wipe down is super handy, it's good to keep these when you find a good one!
I hope this has been a useful insight into what's in my travel make up bag, I would love to know what your travel essentials are!
Zoe xx

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Hello 2013!

Happy New Year everyone! I can't believe it is 2013!

The first day of 2012 was very exciting to me as my gorgeous niece Brooklyn was born, I can't believe that was a year ago! This is the first photo I have with her, and boy has she changed since then.

I always find the new year such an exciting time, I love looking back on all the things I have done in the past year and, I know this is quite nerdy, but I really enjoy watching the news when they do the "Year in Review". Every year it is gauranteed to make me laugh and cry, I just can't help it!

I also think it is exciting to make plans for the year ahead, I've thought about it a little and I have decided there are three main things I want to work on this year, so I thought I would share them with you...

1. Work on my work/life balance- I have only been teaching for 3 years, and I think any transition from uni to full time work is a tough one so I feel like along the way I stopped doing things that I enjoy because I was getting my head around this full time work thing! But now I am more experienced and feel like I am kind of getting on top of things a little so it's time again to start doing things I enjoy! A friend of mine (who is an art teacher) suggested I should join her in a Ceramics course she is looking into next year so I might start there, I'll let you know how it goes!

2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle- Lately I have been really trying to focus on getting fitter and looking after myself. I have made quite a bit of progress in the second half of 2012 and just want to keep on top of things in 2013, I really enjoy trying new things and have actually developed quite a liking for RPM classes, a year ago I never would have uttered such words... I am hoping that 2013 will be my healthiest year yet!

3. Make better financial decisions- Doesn't everyone have a budgeting New Years resolution? I feel like I make one evry year! My plan for this year is to just stay on top of my money and be prepared for any costs before they come up. My sister is amazing with money so I plan on consulting her for advice, let me know if this is one of your New Years resolutions too and we can encourage each other to save!

Do you make new years resolutions? Let me know your plans for 2013!

I am bringing in the New Year in Queenstown this year which is very exciting, I've scheduled a few posts while I'm away so I hope you enjoy reading them, and once I'm back get ready for some pictures and stories about my adventures!

Most importantly, I hope you are all looking after yourselves and having a safe holiday season, I look forward to hearing all about the adventures you've gotten up to this holiday season.

Zoe xx